Just in case anyone was confused about what Obama meant in his Afghanistan speech, assorted poobahs went on TV today to to set the citizenry straight; their message amounted to: "don't go taking the President at his word about that 2011 withdrawal date; it's just talk."
Wouldn't want mere citizens to think the generals' excellent Afghan adventure might end anytime soon -- or perhaps ever.
If we're stuck with this quagmire for the next couple of decades, we better get used to what it costs. Here's a summary from Travis Sharp of the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation.
The figure for total U.S. current military spending in 2010 is around $700 billion. Remind you of anything? -- oh yeah, it is roughly the size of the stimulus package that Congress grudgingly passed in January, the only thing that is keeping nearly 650,000 people in jobs who would otherwise be looking for non-existent work. (USAToday, 11/18/2009)
And how about that "expensive" health care reform we're supposed to be so worried about? It is projected to cost $900 billion over 10 years (and to be fully funded by savings achieved by its provisions.) With inflation, over the same ten years, the military budget will cost something like ten times the amount we might have to spend on health care - and those military costs will have to come directly out of our pockets in taxes.
Something is wrong here. I certainly didn't hear the President articulate any reason to keep throwing the wealth created by our labor down a rat hole for the rest of our lives, yet apparently that that is what our poobahs project. There have to be cheaper ways to work for security -- perhaps by removing the occupying troops that serve as provocations for terrorism.
We can't afford our Cadillac military establishment or its endless brushfire wars.